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Takara Bio and Tianjin Medical University in Gene Therapy Project

Tokyo, Aug 3, 2011 (JCN) - Takara Bio and Tianjin Medical University, Cancer Institute and Hospital (TMUCIH) have agreed to a collaboration, working together in clinical research of TCR gene therapy against refractory cancer. Both parties wish to start clinical research within two years.

The lymphocytes from patients will be transduced in vitro with the retrovirus vector having the TCR gene, which specifically recognizes the tumor cells. The gene modified lymphocytes will be grown in vitro culture, and then they will be re-infused into patients. These lymphocytes are expected to specifically recognize and attack tumors in the patients.

Although Takara is now doing several clinical development projects concerning cancer and AIDS in Japan as well as in the U.S., this is the first gene therapy project in China. Takara is starting up this TCR gene therapy project, and it plans to further expand its business in the field of the cell and gene therapy.

Takara and Mie University, School of Medicine are now jointly conducting clinical research on TCR gene therapy against refractory esophageal cancer. Takara plans to start the clinical trial in Japan with regard to TCR gene therapy in the fiscal year of 2013. Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg and his colleagues in the U.S. NCI published the results of their clinical trial of TCR gene therapy for melanoma patients in the journal Science in 2006, which reported promising results for this therapy. They employ RetroNectin in the clinical trial, which was developed by Takara. Since that time, several groups including Dr. Rosenberg's group have performed clinical trials showing the efficacy of TCR gene therapy for several kinds of cancers in addition to melanoma.

By Chris Lui Staff Writer

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